An investigation into the alleged smuggling of large wild animals from Tanzania to Karachi in south Pakistan has been launched by Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), after interventions from Interpol and the Tanzanian government.
The FIA and the National Central Bureau – Pakistan’s local branch of Interpol – is questioning the management of Karachi Zoological Gardens and Safari Park over the “unlawful export” of African wild animals, including elephants and lions.
Four elephants reportedly arrived in Karachi from Tanzania in 2009 under an agreement with Karachi’s now-defunct city district government, and a year later airport officials in Karachi seized four lions which had been imported on an allegedly expired permit.
The latest probe involving the country’s protected wild animals follows the recent suspension of 34 wildlife officials from the Seregeti park after poachers killed two of the critically-endangered rhinos that were supposed to be under 24-hour protection by wardens.
In August 2011 Tanzania introduced a one and a half year-ban on licenses for exporting live animals and currently the government is believed to be working to remove loopholes in its existing animal welfare legislature. The same month Tanzania also suspended its director of wildlife, Obeid Mbangwa, pending an investigation into the smuggling of 132 live birds and animals, including four giraffes, out of Kilmanjaro International airport aboard a Qatari cargo plane in November 2010.